How to Integrate Community Based Learning Into Your Course
Choosing a Community Based Learning Component
- How integral is the community based learning experience to the course content?
- What knowledge and skills will students need in order to be successful with their community project?
- Does the community partner have experience with community based learning? If not, are they interested and able to learn?
- How many students can the community project site(s) accommodate?
- What resources are available to support community based learning efforts?
- Are the interests of the community partner addressed in designing the community project?
- Is there someone within the organization that can effectively supervise and mentor the students? How important is this for the specific project?
Guiding Questions for Integrating Community Based Learning Into a Course
- What outcomes are desired for the course?
- Which course? Which type of community based learning course structure? (see “Types of Community Based Learning Components”above)
- What types of community projects?
- Which community partner?
- How will the learning be evaluated?
- How will projects be implemented and monitored?
- How will outcomes be measured?
Criteria for Choosing a Community Based Learning Site
- The site must be doing work that is connected to the course in ways that will be obvious to students
- Activities at the site must give students opportunities to reflect on how course concepts relate to the activities
- Whenever possible, students should have direct contact with constituency groups with which the organization regularly interacts
- The work students do should have some clear connection to the main purposes of the organization
- Whenever possible, work toward a long term relationship with the community partner, for longer-term benefits for all involved (Littlefield, 1994)
Possible Outcomes of Community Based Learning
- Enhanced understanding of course content
- Ability to link course content to real life situations
- Moral development
- Increased civic responsibility
- Leadership skills and self-efficacy
- Enhanced appreciation for diversity
- Career preparation
- Increased student retention
To discuss ideas/proposals, contact Celestina Castillo.